The Housing Chronicles Blog: "Prestine" Oceanfront Condos in Mazatlan!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Prestine" Oceanfront Condos in Mazatlan!

Sometimes I can't help myself: even when I'm on vacation (in this case Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta with my extended family), I'm always interested in local real estate, how it's marketed, who the buyers are and how it all compares to how we do things here in the U.S.

One thing I noticed: when signs are translated into English, the spelling (and often the use of apostrophes) tends to suffer (i.e., No Worry's Bar and Restaurant in Cabo). I always wonder why builders would spend tens of millions of dollars on a project and then fail to pay someone to spell check a sign (especially a billboard near a popular beach!).

But perhaps I'm quibbling: for prices sometimes far less than in the U.S., American buyers have long flocked to the Mexican Riviera (although prices in Cabo San Lucas are now at U.S. levels).

When Mexico became too crowded and pricey for the value-oriented second home buyer, they popularized Costa Rica, and now 70,000 ex-patriots call that country home (at least part of the time). Now they're starting to look elsewhere in Central America, chiefly Panama, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize.

During my recent trip, I read a book on buying second homes in Central America that I'll be reviewing for the Los Angeles Times, which I hope will be one of many to follow in the future. Assuming they like what I turn in, it should run sometime in January in the real estate section or "West" magazine.

I learned a lot from this book and will be giving it a positive review, but what struck me the most was this: with governments not just in Central America but around the globe improving their economies and stabilizing their governments, no longer will areas such as Palm Springs or Florida be the only game in town for U.S. retirees. If the U.S. hopes to compete for the next generation of second and/or vacation home shoppers, builders will have to work hard to stay on top of their game.

And of course that means never mis-spelling "pristine."

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